Illinois Divorce Laws vs. Mississippi- More Isn't Always Better

Man and woman pulling rope with wedding rings attached

Recently, the seemingly antiquated divorce laws of Mississippi have come to light as they have prevented some spouses from leaving abusive marriages. While the conservative state's leaders claim to want to protect the institution of Christian marriage, the laws seem to be having the opposite effect. Mississippi is still ranked 7th in the nation for divorces. If you file for divorce in Mississippi and your partner does not want the divorce, you must sue them based on one of the following 12 criteria: 

  • Desertion of a spouse for at least a year.
  • Natural impotency that a spouse was unaware of before marriage.
  • Insanity or idiocy, also existing but not apparent before marriage.
  • A wife’s pregnancy by another at the time of the marriage.
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment, what the law refers to as “custody to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.”
  • Incurable insanity that develops after marriage
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Habitual and excessive drug use
  • Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Must have clear evidence that it has endangered life, limb, or health, or creates a reasonable fear of such danger.
  • Bigamy, but only as a grounds for the innocent spouse.
  • Incest

The fact that the grounds for divorce contain language such as "habitual and excessive," makes them very subjective. This leads to extensive and expensive proceedings, like one woman who had to move out of state after trying for 10 years to divorce her husband.

In Illinois, the Dissolution of Marriage Act protects citizens from this issue. In fact, there is only one ground for divorce- irreconcilable differences.

Until 2016, petitioners for a divorce were required to state the grounds for the divorce.  The legislature felt that this process merely caused more arguments and lead to fewer settlements.  This phrase 'irreconcilable differences" assigns no blame and merely states that the marriage is no longer viable. 

In addition, courts are now required to accept as true that irreconcilable differences exist if the parties have lived separate and apart for 6 months or more. 

This is part of a change which eliminates waiting periods.  Now, once 6 months have taken place, the court must recognize that the marriage is no longer viable and proceed to adjudicate the divorce.

While nobody goes into a marriage expecting to someday be facing divorce, the process should be as streamlined and fair as possible for everyone involved. For more information on Illinois' Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, check out this video. If you are looking for a caring and compassionate family law attorney, call us today at 855-522-5291.